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July 11, 2002 to September 1, 2002

Unbecoming: The Private as Public Spectacle

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Featuring:

Elizabeth Campbell
Kara Crombie
Sarah Lucas
Joseph Maida
Connie Walsh

Unbecoming: The Private as Public Spectacle presents an exhibition of five artists whose work explores the ways in which media-produced spectacle has redefined (and at times collapsed) what is commonly referred to as "private" and "public" subjects and spaces. These artists primarily deal with pseudo-documentary, self-portraiture, and performance in various media-based formats such as photography (Elizabeth Campbell, Sarah Lucas, and Joseph Maida), multi-channel digital video (Kara Crombie), and video installation (Connie Walsh). The exhibition is presented in the first-floor galleries of the Philadelphia Art Alliance from July 11 through September 1, 2002. A special web site with additional information and images can be found through a link from the exhibitions page of the PAA web site (www.philartalliance.org) or at www.ctech2.com/unbecoming. This exhibition has been organized by Melissa Caldwell.

Unbecoming examines one the major symptomatic effects of media spectacle: the disintegration of boundaries between socially constructed norms of the public and the private. Theorists have argued that this collapse of the private and the public is an effect of the increasingly pervasive nature of communication technologies, including new digital conduits such as satellite and the Internet, as well as more traditional forms such as advertising and television. Rather than belying the association of film, photography and digital media with popular forms of entertainment and advertising, each artist in Unbecoming addresses this affiliation in different ways. In each project, mass-media techniques are referenced either directly or indirectly, broken-down, and reframed so that, paradoxically, we are made aware of the image’s seductive and voyeuristic qualities. These artists’ strategies of resistance simulate mass media signs by addressing subjects or spaces once considered private, yet remain critical (rather than complicit) with the publicizing effects of the spectacle. The resistance to easy consumption of these seemingly private images is addressed by the artists through an investigation of cultural norms, common-sense attitudes, and everyday activities.

Tags: film, installation, photography